Working with Third-Party Code

From time to time, you may need to use some third-party code in your Yii applications. Or you may want to use Yii as a library in some third-party systems. In this section, we will show how to achieve these goals.

Using Third-Party Libraries in Yii

To use a third-party library in a Yii application, you mainly need to make sure the classes in the library are properly included or can be autoloaded.

Using Composer Packages

Many third-party libraries are released in terms of Composer packages. You can install such libraries by taking the following two simple steps:

  1. modify the composer.json file of your application and specify which Composer packages you want to install.
  2. run composer install to install the specified packages.

The classes in the installed Composer packages can be autoloaded using the Composer autoloader. Make sure the entry script of your application contains the following lines to install the Composer autoloader:

// install Composer autoloader
require(__DIR__ . '/../vendor/autoload.php');

// include Yii class file
require(__DIR__ . '/../vendor/yiisoft/yii2/Yii.php');

Using Downloaded Libraries

If a library is not released as a Composer package, you should follow its installation instructions to install it. In most cases, you will need to download a release file manually and unpack it in the BasePath/vendor directory, where BasePath represents the base path of your application.

If a library carries its own class autoloader, you may install it in the entry script of your application. It is recommended the installation is done before you include the Yii.php file so that the Yii class autoloader can take precedence in autoloading classes.

If a library does not provide a class autoloader, but its class naming follows PSR-4, you may use the Yii class autoloader to autoload the classes. All you need to do is just to declare a root alias for each root namespace used in its classes. For example, assume you have installed a library in the directory vendor/foo/bar, and the library classes are under the xyz root namespace. You can include the following code in your application configuration:

[
    'aliases' => [
        '@xyz' => '@vendor/foo/bar',
    ],
]

If neither of the above is the case, it is likely that the library relies on PHP include path configuration to correctly locate and include class files. Simply follow its instruction on how to configure the PHP include path.

In the worst case when the library requires explicitly including every class file, you can use the following method to include the classes on demand:

  • Identify which classes the library contains.
  • List the classes and the corresponding file paths in Yii::$classMap in the entry script of the application. For example,
    Yii::$classMap['Class1'] = 'path/to/Class1.php';
    Yii::$classMap['Class2'] = 'path/to/Class2.php';
    

Using Yii in Third-Party Systems

Because Yii provides many excellent features, sometimes you may want to use some of its features to support developing or enhancing 3rd-party systems, such as WordPress, Joomla, or applications developed using other PHP frameworks. For example, you may want to use the yii\helpers\ArrayHelper class or use the Active Record feature in a third-party system. To achieve this goal, you mainly need to take two steps: install Yii, and bootstrap Yii.

If the third-party system uses Composer to manage its dependencies, you can simply run the following commands to install Yii:

composer global require "fxp/composer-asset-plugin:^1.2.0"
composer require yiisoft/yii2
composer install

The first command installs the composer asset plugin which allows managing bower and npm package dependencies through Composer. Even if you only want to use the database layer or other non-asset related features of Yii, this is required to install the Yii composer package.

If you want to use the Asset publishing feature of Yii you should also add the following configuration to the extra section in your composer.json:

{
    ...
    "extra": {
        "asset-installer-paths": {
            "npm-asset-library": "vendor/npm",
            "bower-asset-library": "vendor/bower"
        }
    }
}

See also the general section about installing Yii for more information on Composer and solution to possible issues popping up during the installation.

Otherwise, you can download the Yii release file and unpack it in the BasePath/vendor directory.

Next, you should modify the entry script of the 3rd-party system by including the following code at the beginning:

require(__DIR__ . '/../vendor/yiisoft/yii2/Yii.php');

$yiiConfig = require(__DIR__ . '/../config/yii/web.php');
new yii\web\Application($yiiConfig); // Do NOT call run() here

As you can see, the code above is very similar to that in the entry script of a typical Yii application. The only difference is that after the application instance is created, the run() method is not called. This is because by calling run(), Yii will take over the control of the request handling workflow which is not needed in this case and already handled by the existing application.

Like in a Yii application, you should configure the application instance based on the environment running the third-party system. For example, to use the Active Record feature, you need to configure the db application component with the DB connection setting used by the third-party system.

Now you can use most features provided by Yii. For example, you can create Active Record classes and use them to work with databases.

Using Yii 2 with Yii 1

If you were using Yii 1 previously, it is likely you have a running Yii 1 application. Instead of rewriting the whole application in Yii 2, you may just want to enhance it using some of the features only available in Yii 2. This can be achieved as described below.

Note: Yii 2 requires PHP 5.4 or above. You should make sure that both your server and the existing application support this.

First, install Yii 2 in your existing application by following the instructions given in the last subsection.

Second, modify the entry script of the application as follows,

// include the customized Yii class described below
require(__DIR__ . '/../components/Yii.php');

// configuration for Yii 2 application
$yii2Config = require(__DIR__ . '/../config/yii2/web.php');
new yii\web\Application($yii2Config); // Do NOT call run(), yii2 app is only used as service locator

// configuration for Yii 1 application
$yii1Config = require(__DIR__ . '/../config/yii1/main.php');
Yii::createWebApplication($yii1Config)->run();

Because both Yii 1 and Yii 2 have the Yii class, you should create a customized version to combine them. The above code includes the customized Yii class file, which can be created as follows.

$yii2path = '/path/to/yii2';
require($yii2path . '/BaseYii.php'); // Yii 2.x

$yii1path = '/path/to/yii1';
require($yii1path . '/YiiBase.php'); // Yii 1.x

class Yii extends \yii\BaseYii
{
    // copy-paste the code from YiiBase (1.x) here
}

Yii::$classMap = include($yii2path . '/classes.php');
// register Yii 2 autoloader via Yii 1
Yii::registerAutoloader(['yii\BaseYii', 'autoload']);
// create the dependency injection container
Yii::$container = new yii\di\Container;

That's all! Now in any part of your code, you can use Yii::$app to access the Yii 2 application instance, while Yii::app() will give you the Yii 1 application instance:

echo get_class(Yii::app()); // outputs 'CWebApplication'
echo get_class(Yii::$app);  // outputs 'yii\web\Application'